We acknowledge that our physical plants are on the tribal lands of the Sacramento area’s Indigenous people which include: the Nisenan, the Southern Maidu to the North, the Valley and Plains Miwok/Me-Wuk to the south of the American River, and the Patwin Wintun to the west of the Sacramento River.

Photo Credit Dr. Fernandez

The interrelated, dual missions of the Department of Pediatrics Committee on Departmental Diversity and Pediatric Health Equity are...

...to guide departmental structures, policies, and practices to improve departmental workforce racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic diversity reflective of the children it serves, focusing on those underrepresented in Medicine and to promote and improve pediatric health and healthcare equity in the Sacramento region. These missions are symbiotic, each arising from and supporting the other: " Diversity can only thrive in the presence of equity and equity cannot be achieved without diversity". The UC Davis Health Department of Pediatrics stands behind its dedication to creating a healthy future for all children. It logically follows that we ground our intertwined missions in the American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on “Health Equity and Children’s Rights.” The statement defines four elements of child health equity: children’s rights, social justice, human capital investment, and child health equity ethics. Operationalizing guideline-based strategies, the Committee will simultaneously address each of these 4 elements to ensure the fulfillment of our missions. 

We envision a Department of Pediatrics...

...whose staff, residents, and faculty have backgrounds that reflect the racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic diversity of children it serves and where that diversity is celebrated and supported. We envision a UCD Health System and a Department of Pediatrics which is committed to engaging, with humility, all of the communities of the Sacramento region to ensure equity in the healthcare it delivers and in the overall health of communities.

Our guiding principles for activities are rooted in Cultural Humility and AAP’s element of child health equity. 

Guiding Principle 1: Children’s Rights

We will seek to employ the anti-racism strategies provided in the American Academy of Pediatrics Statement “The Impact of Racism on Child Health and Adolescent Health” to maintain the rights of all children served by the Department of Pediatrics and serve as a model for the Sacramento region.


Guiding Principle 2: Social Justice

We will use theory and evidence-based models to attempt to establish the Department as a national leader in developing and promoting best practices to ensure the wellbeing of all children in a community, starting with the greater Sacramento community which we serve. These models include the UNICEF Child Friendly City Initiative and the All Children Thrive Initiative.


Guiding Principle 3: Human Capital Investment

Developing and sustaining a diverse workforce requires investment from the Department. A vibrant and diverse workforce serving children is itself a human capital investment in pediatric health equity. To that end, we will collaborate with the UC Davis Health Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Office of Student and Resident Diversity to guide the Department Chair, Division Chiefs, and Pediatric Residency Program Director in employing strategies to recruit, support, and retain, staff, residents, fellows and faculty from backgrounds historically excluded and underrepresented in medicine (HEUIM). We will work with the UC Davis Health Office of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to guide the Department Chair and Division Chiefs in ensuring that HEUIM faculty have ample opportunities for career advancement and leadership positions. We will use participation in the Committee itself (collaborating with the Department of Pediatrics Wellness Committee) by faculty, residents, and staff from HEUIM backgrounds as a tool to support those participants, by providing a safe environment for discussion and mentoring around issues particularly relevant to HEUIM groups.


Guiding Principle 4: Health Equity Ethics

Guided by the principles of Cultural Humility, we will engage bi-directionally with community leaders to assist the Department of Pediatrics in meeting the healthcare needs of all children, especially the most vulnerable. Having community participants on the Committee is itself a powerful community engagement goal, in addition to specific projects that arise from the Committee. Project ideas will be initiated by community members on the Committee with support of the other community members.

Our committee will provide the Department of Pediatrics and others who want to participate with education through Grand Rounds and the CHAANJE Lives curriculum. Please watch this amazing Grand Rounds presented by Jesus Hernandez, PhD which provides a historical context for pediatric health equity in Sacramento neighborhoods.


The committee is co-chaired by

Erik Fernandez y Garcia, MD MPH

Laura Kester, MD MPH 

Mikah Owen, MD MPH

The committee is a multidisciplinary one with members including staff, graduate trainees (residents), and faculty from UC Davis Department of Pediatrics, as well as community members. All members of the committee have full and equal say in committee procedures and activities.

References and Resources

News Letters

January 2022 (PDF)

December 2021 (PDF)

September 2021 (PDF)

Juneteenth 2021 (PDF)

June 2021 (PDF)

May 2021 (PDF)

April 2021 (PDF)

February 2021 (PDF)

January 2021 (PDF)